Four Breathing Exercises for Seniors with Mesothelioma

Posted on January 25, 2017 in Learning

Pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that starts in the thin membrane surrounding the lungs and is marked by tumors and inflammation that restrict the normal breathing pattern.

Coughing and chest pain also are common symptoms. Even mild physical activity, that once was taken for granted, becomes a major undertaking when the lungs lose the ability to operate properly.

Respiratory therapies are often prescribed and especially helpful in improving lung function, easing the breathing problems and relieving some of the more troubling symptoms.

While some mesothelioma patients may struggle with certain breathing exercises, a pulmonary rehabilitation program can be beneficial and is recommended by doctors and specialists for a variety of respiratory illnesses.  

There are exercises that may help respiratory rate and breathing patters. Here are a few:

·       Active Cycle Breathing Technique (ACBT): The ACBT increase the amount of air that reaches the lungs and releases secretions. The technique involves the huff cough, which is taking a deep breath and forcefully exhaling it. Repeat the exercise several times until the secretions are expelled. The cough will become dry.

·       Abdominal/Diaphragmatic Breathing: This exercise slows breathing and relaxes the body. Start by lying on your back in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach. Focus on breathing through your nose by using your abdominal muscles. Feel the hand on your stomach rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale.

·       Pursed-Lip Breathing: This exercise also slows breathing and makes it feel like the lungs are taking in more air with each breath. Breathe through your nose and hold your breath for a few seconds, then breathe out slowly with your lips partially open. Repeat several times.

·       Channel Cleaning: This exercise relaxes you and is popular with those who do yoga. Start by making a fist. Then stretch out your thump, pinkie and ring finger, leaving your middle and index fingers clasped. Bring your hand to your face and put your thumb on your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, then move your hand to the left nostril and exhale through the right. Inhale again and move your thumb to the right side. Exhale through the left nostril. Repeat the routine three to five times before returning to normal breathing.

Through these exercises, patient often can rehabilitate some lung function. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a good treatment for any patient battling chronic respiratory illnesses.